My Time At Britmums Live! 2013

Last weekend I travelled down to London to attend the UK's largest Parenting Blogging Conference - Britmums Live! I had high hopes for the weekend and Leyla and I were very giddy on the train down (the free wine did help that too). I was also a little anxious - nervous about being in a room full of people I didn't really know, and concern that those online friendships I'd put years into wouldn't quite measure up in 'real life'.


Enjoying first class privileges!

Live from Britmums Live!

Here I sat, sat in the main room of the Brewery listening to Jane Blackmore talking about Finding Your Voice and amusing us all with her northern humour.

I am here. It's real. The largest blogging event of the year, and I am part of it. Excited doesn't even cover it.

Anyone who doesn't blog doesn't always understand. 'Oh that thing online' or 'I saw your picture on Facebook' are the usual comments, but people here get it. They don't roll their eyes as you sit on your phone constantly (I am currently tweeting, blogging, and making notes) and they know more about you than many do in 'real life'.

So far I have met some fantastic and lovely people, many of whom I've tweeted for over a year and never met. I was anxious that I would have such high expectations of people and wouldn't get on with them, but this hasn't been the case at all, in fact meeting people has only strengthened our friendships. 

I have met brands and began the first stage of building some new and hopefully successful relationships. 

I have listened to some enthralling speakers, laughed, shed a tear and learnt a lot.

Britmums is all I hoped it would be and more. I may have blisters from my stupid new shoes, my shoulders may be aching from lugging all those goody bags around and I may have got no sleep last night, but I am buzzing an a new type of high as I finally feel like I'm finding my path.

Thank you to The Essential One for making this possible.

Superheroes For A Day with Cosatto!

How the staff at Cosatto get anything done is beyond me! A bright building with everything from the phone announcing your arrival, the stairs as you enter to the toilet roll in bright wacky colours - it's no wonder their brand is so fun and colourful!

A group of bloggers and press were invited to spend a lovely afternoon in Wonderland with the lovely staff there to view their AW/13 ranges as well as explore a world of giant (and very fast) slides, green grass and superhero baby stuff!

What I'm Wearing to Britmums Live!

Last year when everyone was posting all about Britmums Live I was so jealous and dying to go. Until Leyla at This Day I Love decided we were going down together I wasn't even thinking of going this year, but now I am so glad I am. I've been thinking about my outfit ever since I booked the ticket months ago and knew I wanted to do a 'what I'm wearing' post, so here it is!

Personalised Peppa Pig Book by Penwizard

For Baby J's birthday we were sent a personalised copy of a personalised Peppa Pig book. As Baby J is only one he isn't really into television as yet but I thought is would be a lovely book to keep for him.

A Thank You

For a while now things have been pretty tough. I thought at first I was coping, but then it gradually dawned on me that in fact I was not. I would lay in bed listening to the child crying for me on a morning, unable to drag myself from under the covers. I would find myself sat on the sofa most of the day, with no energy to play, interact and teach. I would offer easy meals and often not eat myself as I couldn't find the enthusiasm to make a proper meal. And I had so much guilt over this I couldn't bear it.

Recently though, things have seemed a little brighter. I have started regular counselling and begun taking anti-depressants, so this has of course helped. But the saving grace for me has been blogging. In April I attended my first blogging event, and since then I haven't looked back. I have now been to several events and they have become my sanity. The things I look forward to most. The place where I can be myself, not just mummy. The place where I have gained friends who know, who understand. I have found myself laughing again, being silly and feeling part of something.

So here are a few words to you, ladies. Thank you.

It’s a long dark path
Straight, barren, never ending road
I trudge hopelessly
Dragging my feet as I go
All around is a mist
So dense I feel trapped
Like a spiders web all around me
Has me tightly wrapped
Just a few of the many bloggers I have met

In the distance I can sense
Two little hands reaching for me
They need my help
But I can’t even find me
Then unexpectedly
A light appears
Just a glimmer at first
Then gradually becomes more clear
A flicker, a sparkle
That helps me to cross
And find the road back home
To find what I thought I’d lost

Next weekend I am attending Britmums Live where I cannot wait to meet so many bloggers who I call friends.


Prose for Thought

The Importance of Imagination Play

Imagination play is a simply child using their imagination to create scenarios and situations in which to create a world they can play in. It is something we will all remember doing as a child and it is an extremely important part of experiencing the world around us. It is also a very important part of growing up – both through developing important social skills and confidence that is much needed in later life.

Play Outside
Getting out in the fresh air is a great way for children to play. It gives children a chance to be close to nature and experience a whole different world first hand. Children love to get messy in the garden and I am yet to see a child who has mud on their face and leaves in their hair, with an unhappy face! As well as being ‘at one’ with nature, being outside can teach children a lot about the world they live in.
Growing vegetables and planting flowers in the garden with children can teach them about where food comes from. Allowing a child to watch something grow until the point where it can be eaten is a valuable way for them to learn about where food comes from. As well as helping them appreciate the healthier things in life it is also good to help them notice the value in these things. Wasting food can be a problem for some parents, trying to make your children finish a whole plate of food for some can be a daily struggle. Allowing them to appreciate the effort that goes into food, will hopefully teach them a whole new way of looking at the food they eat. It will also help them realise that not everything comes out of a packet!
Another good reason to encourage outdoor play is the obvious health benefits. Even if it is not the height of summer – a child adorned with hat and coat will happily play outside for hours. The rosy cheeks and smiling faces will be fulfilling enough without even thinking about the added bonus of the exercise running around outside will give them. 
Imagination Play in the Garden
Imagination play has a strong place in the garden. Just think of all the different scenarios that can be created on a climbing frame for example. Do you remember playing on the park as a child? If you do, you will surely remember that a plain wooden climbing frame could be a whole variety of things. Imagine playing pirates and making your playmates ‘walk-the-plank’ or laying siege to a castle in the middle-ages. Climbing frames are becoming a lot more affordable for the modern family and a good sized wooden climbing frame could be part of your garden for a reasonable price. All the Action climbing frames at www.climbingframes.com come with a 10 year warranty on the wood so could be a great investment if getting to the park can be quite difficult.
A home climbing frame can give your child the freedom and opportunity to let their imagination run wild. Many of them can incorporate a whole host of different play aspects. For example, if you have children who love the adventurous imagination play, then climbing nets, rope ladders and rock climbing walls will suit them down to the ground. If you wanted to add a sporting element then a basketball net or swing could be really fun for many children. Draw bridges, tunnels and accessories like telescopes and steering wheels will transform any wooden climbing frame into a ship, a submarine or anything else your child could possibly imagine.

Gardens can be brought to life with just a few bits of play equipment. There is no need to litter your garden in plastic toys that may just break after a short time. If a construction like a tree house or climbing frame is too large for your garden something smaller such as a playhouse or play tent could give your children that perfect little den in which they can let their imagination run wild.

This is a sponsored post. Thanks to Garden Games for their contribution to a new exciting project I am undertaking, please check back soon for more information!

Summer

Summer is finally upon us! After a dark and dismal start to the year, SAD seemed to well and truly stuck in, so I am so glad for some brighter weather! I just hope it lasts!

The children and I have been trying to make the most of the glorious weather and getting out as much as we can. I thought I'd share some of my favourite photos of the last few weeks, as these days have made me so happy and really helped me feel better.

When your garden is a building site, an improvised paddling pool does the job just as well!

H loved walking her dolly with Grandma

Blowing bubbles in the park

At one year old my little man has learnt to climb the steps and slide down on his own!

My water baby


A summer bath

Baby J's party

Flying high on a lovely summer's eve

I Am Attending Britmums Live!

In two short weeks I am attending the UK's biggest social media conference in London, Britmums Live! Attended by more than 4000 bloggers and various fantastic brands it is an incredible opportunity to learn more about blogging, meet other like-minded people and make new contacts. I am travelling down on the train and staying overnight in a hotel and am looking forward to a little time off as 'mummy' and will instead be 'Lisa from Hollybobbs'


Baby J's Choo Choo Party

At the weekend we celebrated Baby J's first birthday. After seeing a great priced train table on EBay and knowing J's love of anything on wheels, I decided to throw a train themed party. In the end it wasn't easy to source everything I needed, pirates seem to be the trend at the moment so many train things weren't in stock. However after some sourcing I managed to put it all together.



 

 
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


A Day To Be Me: Courtesy of Next Home and Garden

On Friday myself and a few other northern bloggers were invited to a Next Home and Garden event. When I received the schedule for the day my eyes popped out of my head. Not only were we to receive a tour of the new Home and Garden store in Warrington, we were to be sent for a fabulous day of pampering and dining. I left the kids with the in-laws, waved a cheery goodbye then skipped to my car - a day to myself. A day to be me. Not mummy. Me. I could not wait.

Swimming With The Fishes: A Preview of Sea Life Centre Manchester

This week we had a great opportunity to have a preview of the new Sealife Centre at Manchester Trafford Centre. I love these kind of family trips so I jumped at the chance to visit.

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